Can You Sue After Suffering a Workplace Injury?
Under normal circumstances, an employee injured on the job in Florida cannot sue the employer for damages. Workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, and that is normally the only compensation available to the employee. Workers’ compensation is intended to limit employer liability while also giving injured employees guaranteed levels of compensation without having to sue their employer to receive compensation. Workers’ compensation law provides a recovery schedule that gives a degree of certainty as to what you will receive for a particular injury at work, as it sets forth an amount of damages allowable for each particular kind of injury, in addition to actual medical expenses.
So that means you’re stuck with what workers’ compensation gives you, right? Well, not exactly.
Florida Follows the “Exclusive Remedy” Rule
Like many workers’ compensation states, Florida applies the “exclusive remedy” rule, meaning that worker’s compensation is the only remedy employees have when they are injured at work. This means that employees who suffer an injury at work are not allowed to sue their employer for the injury, even if their employer’s negligence caused their injury by, for instance, failing to maintain safe working conditions. The local, state, and federal governments might be able to fine the employer for the safety failure, but the injured worker can’t sue. The employee is limited to the remedies available from worker’s compensation. Under worker’s compensation, employees’ medical expenses are covered, and they receive a set amount of damages, as well, depending upon the nature of their injury. Under the “exclusive remedy” rule, that is all they can recover.
Exclusive Isn’t Always Exclusive, Though
As is the case with most states, Florida worker’s compensation remedy is not quite as exclusive as it sounds. The law allows lawsuits against third parties who potentially bear some responsibility for an employee’s injuries. Third-party liability could arise when the negligence of someone other than your employer caused the injury, even though it happened while you were at work. This could include a traffic accident caused by another driver’s negligence while you are performing work duties, an injury caused by a defective product, or some other injury caused by a third party. In each such instance, you could bring a personal injury accident against that third party, but not against your employer, and you still would receive worker’s compensation.
Further, Florida law includes an intentional tort exception. Under this exception, an employee can sue an employer if the employer causes the employee’s injury or death through intentional actions. The employee (or his estate) has to show by clear and convincing evidence that the employer intended to injure or kill the employee or that the employer did not warn the employee of a danger the employer knew was hidden or intentionally concealed and that the employer knew the danger was potentially lethal. Negligence is not enough to invoke this exception.
If You Have Been Injured in a Workplace Accident, Contact a Miami Workplace Accident Attorney
Workplace accidents generally are covered by worker’s compensation, with no other recovery of damages available to the injured employee. However, there are exceptions to this “exclusive remedy” rule. If you are injured in an accident at work, you should consult with a Miami workplace accident attorney to determine what your options are for recovering damages. Contact Flagler Personal Injury Group at (305) 424-8445 or through our online contact form. Our personal injury lawyers work with clients throughout the greater Miami area.
We handle a variety of cases, so call us now if you have any questions.
View more contact information here: Miami Personal Injury Attorneys.